Thursday, October 01, 2015
Based on a true story, it's 1972 and a New Jersey police detective (Julianne Moore) fights for equal rights hoping to provide pension benefits for her domestic partner (Ellen Page). Moore and Page give outstanding performances in this ground breaking step towards enlightenment. This is a touching & moving inspirational film about prejudice, justice, and doing the right thing.
Alien gives it 2 ½ "Ocean County Board" stars out of 4.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
The Martian (3D)
This mission to Mars is "Apollo 13" meets "Cast Away" meets "Gravity" with "MacGyver" on Mars. When an disaster aborts the mission and strands presumed to be dead astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) on a hostile planet, Watney must figure out how to survive long enough to be rescued if he can even tell anyone he is still alive. This gripping drama will keep you on the edge of your seat for its 141 minute runtime. A tremendous sense of humor under adversity and Commander Lewis' (Jessica Chastain) lively musical taste eases the tension & stress as everything starts to go south. This is a tribute to engineers, scientists, & geeks who do the math to solve seemingly insurmountable challenges. This film makes science cool. The great supporting cast also includes Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, & Chiwetel Ejiofor. The special effects are awesome. This is a must see movie.
Alien gives it 4 "Space Pirate/Iron Man" stars out of 4.
Monday, September 28, 2015
The Walk (3D IMAX)
This is the true story of Frenchman Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) & his incredible dream to tightrope walk between NYC's Twin Towers. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, this highly entertaining autobiography is much more than just a documentary of the famed 1974 event. It is a well balanced movie, juggling humor against drama & calm against excitement. It's also a great caper film. Beware if you have a fear of heights because filmmakers will take from the edge of your seat to out on the ledge of the Towers & far beyond on that steel cable. It's high tension drama that isn't over until it's over. This is a great character development film and Gordon-Levitt is marvelous as the man with the dream, the drive, and determination to pull off the artistic crime of the century that was never repeated nor can it ever be again. Images of the Twin Towers are a haunting memory of what is no more. This January 27, 2015 review is being postponed until the film's release date (anticipated October 2015) due to nondisclosure documents.
Just rescreened at the IMAX and the now completed film looks tremendous in 3D on the huge screen. Petit's feat is madness but it is also beautiful.
Alien gives it 3 ½ "step into the void for le coup" stars out of 4.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Hotel Transylvania 2
This is not a sneak preview. This film has already released.
In this animated sequel, the story quickly advances to Dracula's daughter, Mavis, marrying her human boyfriend, Johnny, and giving birth to a son, Dennis, but is he human or vampire? Grandpa so badly wants him to fly & grow fangs. Mavis explores the possibilities of moving her family to a more human environment. As in the original, the comedy is largely based on human versus monster jokes & humor. It's good family fun.
Alien gives it 3 "Vamp-pa" stars out of 4.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
A FBI agent (Emily Blunt) is offered the opportunity to join an elite task force team cloaked in secrecy. Are they DEA, CIA, or what? On a mission to attack a Mexican cartel, Josh Brolin leads this team that includes a scary mystery man (Benicio Del Toro). This is an intense & suspenseful drama with brutally violent scenes as the team crosses over the border and the line to complete their mission. The movie is well acted and crafted but may be hard to view for the squeamish. As a heads up, the film begins by explaining it title which translates to mean hit man. If one pays attention to the clues, you foresee most of the outcomes at their critical turning points.
Alien gives it 3 "Channing AZ House of Horrors" stars out of 4.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
This is not a sneak preview. This film has already released.
It's out of the Glade and into the Scorch for Thomas and his friends as they run for safety. The action & mystery continues picking up right where the first film ended. Thrilling chase & fight scenes drive this sequel where the gang gets caught up between the WCKD army, the cranks, and the rebels. Just enough secrets are revealed to keep audiences interested but expect a few twists to throw you off-balanced too. As expected, this bridge to the next film solves nothing & leads to questions of what's next in stored for Thomas and his friends.
Alien gives it 3 "search for the Right Arm" stars out of 4.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
On the surface, this true life story is about a dangerous hostage situation instigated by a desperate fugitive. But underneath, it's a story about hope & redemption of two individuals fighting with their own set of demons. A jailbreak puts Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) on the run & seeking refuge in the apartment of recovering crystal meth addict Ashley Smith (Kate Mara). Oyelowo & Mara are terrific in this slow to develop but inspirational film. Being labelled in the faith-based movie genre, it is not hard to anticipate the outcome, but sometimes truth is more amazing than fiction. Look for photos of the actual characters portrayed & a clip from the Oprah Show at the end.
Alien gives it 2 ½ "Follow Your Purpose" stars out of 4.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
It's the social media generation versus old school when a startup web-based clothing outlet begins a senior citizen intern program. 70-year-old widower Ben (Robert De Niro) becomes the owner Jules' (Anne Hathaway) personal assistant & has a major impact on the business. Written & directed by Nancy Meyers, this is a very funny & delightful comedy with some touching moments. De Niro & Hathaway will charm their way into your hearts. The plot line predictably goes where you think it will with just a couple of surprises, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Alien gives it 3 ½ "CEO search" stars out of 4.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Everest (3D IMAX)
Based on true events, it's the tragic 1996 story of life and death on Earth's tallest mountain. This is a beautiful, breathtaking, and intensely frightening film that reveals the dangers on the climb to the summit. The all-star cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley, Jason Clark, & Sam Worthington. This is a must see for any who have dreamt of scaling up to the world's highest peak, but can't afford the cost and/or are too chicken to make the attempt. The views are amazing in 3D on the gigantic IMAX screen. Photos of the real people portrayed are featured at the end of the film.
Alien gives it 3 "Adventure Consultants" stars out of 4.
Monday, September 14, 2015
This is the true story of South Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger's (Johnny Depp) strange alliance with the FBI. Whitey rationalizes feeding old neighborhood buddy & now FBI agent (Joel Edgerton) information to eliminate his Mafia competitors is not being a rat. Depp does another amazing character transformation as this brutally cruel & creepy psychotic crime boss out to eliminate anyone standing in his way. The supporting cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Saarsgaard, & Jullianne Nicholson) also turn in terrific performances. But brace yourself for some violently brutal images depicting Whitey's cold hearted evil nature. This film may not be for you if you don't enjoy films featuring unsympathetic characters. Look for some real crime scene & surveillance photos and a where-are-they-now recap a the film's end.
Alien gives it 2 ½ "Winter Hill Gang" stars out of 4.